What is boiler breakdown cover?
We all want to avoid paying too much for a boiler breakdown, especially in the middle of Winter when we most rely on our boiler. This is where boiler breakdown cover comes into play, taking the pain away from those potentially hefty repair bills.
So what exactly is boiler breakdown cover? Boiler breakdown cover covers the cost of repairs and call outs if your boiler were to break down during the duration of your cover agreement. Some breakdown policies may only include a limited number of claims in a year, which could be a nightmare if you’re running into the same recurring fault. It’s also important to check the terms and conditions of the cover, as in some cases your claim may not be valid if the break down has been caused by other areas of your central heating system, or a pre-existing condition such as limescale build-up, for example.
Do I need gas boiler breakdown cover? Is boiler breakdown cover worth it?
Boiler breakdown cover is suitable for both homeowners and landlords. If you’re renting, it’s up to your landlord to have boiler breakdown cover in place to protect against those unexpected boiler breakdowns. If you are a homeowner or landlord, you may already have boiler breakdown cover in place as part of your buildings and contents insurance, so it’s always a good idea to check with your home insurance policy provider first.
If you have a boiler manufacturer warranty and you’re unsure whether you need boiler breakdown cover, it’s important to consider what’s actually covered under warranty. In most cases, your boiler is only covered under warranty for a maximum of 10 years. If your boiler is physically damaged or hasn’t been serviced, you may risk voiding your manufacturer warranty. You may risk voiding your warranty if you do not have your boiler serviced annually, or if any physical damage has been caused to the boiler. It’s worth checking what type of damage is covered under the manufacturer warranty.
With all of the above in mind, it makes sense to have cover in place. Otherwise, you could be dropped in cold water (see what we did there?) if your boiler was to break down, which could lead to high call out and repair fees. In 2017, uSwitch found that UK homes had to pay out just over £725 million for unexpected boiler repairs. Therefore, to put an end to those unexpected repair bills, boiler breakdown cover will cover the cost of your annual boiler service visit, provide you with a 24/7 helpline, and aset number of free claims that can be made in a year.
Some providers offer insured plans to look after your Boiler and Heating and other home services like plumbing, drains and electrics, whereas other providers offer non-insured plans. An insured plan will be underwritten by an insurer and also regulated by the [Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)](https://www.fca.org.uk/). Non-insured plans are not backed by an insurer and are not regulated by the FCA. Often non-insured or maintenance plans include an annual service of the equipment covered, whereas these may or may not be included in insured plans.
Boiler breakdown cover vs Central heating cover
If you’re not sure whether you need boiler breakdown cover or central heating cover, it’s important to consider the differences between the two. Boiler breakdown cover will only protect your boiler should it need repairs or breakdown while your cover is in place. Central heating cover protects your entire central heating system, including your boiler, controls, pipework, cylinder, and more. Central heating cover also has other names, such as ‘Boiler and Heating Cover’ or ‘Central Heating Breakdown Cover’.
What boiler breakdown cover do I need?
All boiler breakdown cover packages will mostly offer the same thing. There will be some key differences, which are likely to be the excess costs for call outs, whether the helpline is 24/7 or not, and the monthly cost for the package. It’s in your best interest to find a cover package that suits you and your current situation best, so make sure you compare each boiler cover to find the best deal.
What is an annual service visit?
To keep your boiler in full working order, you’re best to have an annual boiler service carried out by a Gas Safe engineer. An annual boiler service will keep your boiler running smoothly and reduce the amount of wear over time. You won’t need to have your boiler serviced more than once per year. An annual service will include a visual check of the boiler and controls, as well as an inspection of the internal components of the boiler to ensure it’s firing correctly and not in poor condition. If you’re looking to take out boiler breakdown cover, it’ll make more sense to pay that little bit extra to get annual servicing rather than pay the one off cost. However, most boiler breakdown cover packages will include an annual service for free.
What is excess? And do I have to pay for it?
An excess is a cost you’ll have to pay as part of your claim if your boiler was to run into a fault and you needed an engineer call out. The excess will usually be around (or up to) £50. However, some boiler breakdown cover providers will offer no excess cost as it’s been worked into the monthly price.
Can I switch to a different cover provider?
If you’re looking to make a saving, the good news is that you won’t need to stick with the same provider year after year. Before you switch, it’s important to check the terms and conditions of your existing cover provider to ensure that you’re not stung with a sizeable cancellation fee. You can wait until your policy expires, which is usually 12 months from the date you took out your plan. Otherwise, you can pay the cancellation fee if you’re unhappy with your existing policy, and move on.